While you're in cleaning mode, take the time to purge unnecessary files, documents and media, but ensure you're doing so safely. Would-be identity thieves can steal your personal information from trash or recycling containers and use it to steal money from your bank account or damage your credit. As you clean out your files this spring, protect yourself from identity theft by keeping in mind these tips from :
1. Use a shredder. Simply discarding document that contain private information isn't good enough; shred such documents first to destroy details that could be used to identify you. Always shred documents that contain personal information, such as pay stubs, bank statements, credit card offers, cancelled checks, cancelled credit cards and old tax returns.
2. Don't forget digital files. Before you get rid of old mobile phones, computers, and storage drives, make sure you erase the hard drive to rid the device of passwords, medical information, addresses and phone numbers, and personal documents. Use a program that overwrites or "wipes" the hard drive many times to ensure that the deleted information cannot be retrieved. To be extra cautious, you can always remove the hard drive and destroy it manually.
3. Lock up sensitive documents. Some of the documents and files you need to keep should be stored carefully, preferably locked in a drawer, cabinet or safe. But which ones should you lock up? Secure anything that contains credit card information, tax receipts, bill payment receipts and healthcare information.
Follow these tips when cleaning your home this spring and feel safer about the security of your personal information.
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